Labor unions have long been a hallmark of developed economies. While their power has been on the decline for decades in the US, they are still a principle part of the labor market. Now, with their grip already in decline, they might be dealt a death blow by the Supreme Court. The court is about to hear a case on whether it is constitutional for labor unions to require government workers to fund the unions which represent them. Because of the decline in private sector unions, about half of all US union membership is now held by government employees, so a ruling against mandatory union dues could likely spark the end of American unions as we know them.

FINSUM: The decline of unions has been a complex and long-term affair. Aside from this case, we wonder if the power of unions might increase or decrease as automation takes further hold of the workplace.

(New York)

So we are a year into the presidency of one of the country’s biggest real estate developers. However, the reality is that a lot of uncertainty looms over the housing market. Between rising rates and the new less-interest-friendly tax package, the market is facing some headwinds. But analysts say that the biggest driver right now is that the uncertainty around the tax package is finally in the rearview mirror, which is allowing deals to go through which were previously on hold.

FINSUM: Our view is that the top end of the market, say $1m+ homes, are going to struggle a bit for a few years. The reasons why being the new limited mortgage interest deductions rules, and the fact that the Millennial generation, which will drive home buying, are not very wealthy yet.

(Los Angeles)

A term which is anathema to the ears of real estate developers and landlords is once again rearing its head—rent controls. A push for localized and state rent controls is mounting across the country and the battleground appears to be in California, which is set to vote on a number of such measures. Mid-sized and large cities have been seeing double digit percentage annual rent increases for years, which has led to an incredible pushback from tenants. A number of ballot measures would give local governments across the country significant power to control rents.

FINSUM: It has been a long time since these policies were last in force in a major way, and the collective memories of their downside seems to have been forgotten. All that said, this push is a reaction to the huge investment in housing that private equity firms made following the Crisis. Since then they have raised rents aggressively, which has led to this inevitable grass roots push.

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